Lost in the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors excellent run this season is the standout play of steady 17-year old defenseman Stuart Percy, who is currently playing in his second season with the team and is eligible for the upcoming NHL draft in June.
After being selected 15th overall in the 2009 OHL Priority Draft by the Majors, Percy went on to score three goals and 15 assists in 52 games, along with 40 penalty minutes, in a limited role with the Majors. He started the season on the third pairing with 19-year old Brett Fleming, but played his way into the top-four towards the latter half of the season.
With the loss of veteran OHL defenseman Cameron Gaunce, Tim Billingsley and Blake Parlett, the Majors expected Percy to make significant contributions to the club this season by logging extra minutes and being relied on to play in the top two pairings. The 6-foot-1, 186 pound defenseman has not disappointed. He has provided a steady presence from the backend by playing a quality two-way game and displaying tremendous hockey sense.
Scouts describe Percy as a well-rounded player who doesn’t excel at any one aspect of the game, but is technically sound and rarely makes any mistakes. He prides himself on making a good breakout pass and moving the puck out of his own zone using his strong skating skills. The aspect of his game thats he needs to improve is utilizing his frame to his advantage by being more aggressive to eliminate his opponents from the play. He also needs to practice is shot in order to get it through traffic and reach the net.
Percy and the rest of the Mississauga team will take center stage when they host the Memorial Cup in May. The best teams from each of the major junior leagues that comprise the Canadian Hockey League will matchup in a highly anticipated tournament that attracts the eyes of many scouts and managers from the NHL.
“It will be an exciting time”, said Percy. “There is a lot of opportunity there. Going into my draft year, having the Memorial Cup there, hopefully I can stay in Mississauga and get to play in that tournament. Not a lot of guys get to do that and it will just be amazing.”
Along with Percy’s experience with Team Canada at the World Under-18 Hockey Championship and member of Team Orr at the CHL Top Prospects game in January, the Memorial Cup will be another opportunity for the young defenseman to showcase his talent in hopes of moving up the draft rankings.
He is currently ranked 51st among North American skaters in the NHL Central Scouting mid-term rankings. Considering that he will play in the Memorial Cup for the host team, Percy will likely move up the rankings into the top-40 as the draft approaches.
The Oakville, Ontario native has already set career highs in points for the Majors with two goals and 23 assists in only 50 games this season. He will reach the 35-point mark if he continues his upward trend, which is an impressive total for a player with limited offensive potential.
The soft-spoken Percy has flown under the radar throughout his first two seasons in the OHL, but is on the verge of breaking out and proving to scouts why he deserves to be picked early in the upcoming NHL draft. He is described by Majors’ head coach Dave Cameron as a character player that oozes potential as a quality top-four defenseman in the NHL down the road.